Robert E. Gentet
Almost from my earliest memory, I had a natural interest in the created world around me. I was born in Wathena, a small town in NE Kansas, in the summer of 1938. It was the time of the Great Depression and the family in late 1941 moved to Wichita because Dad could find better work there.
Wichita offered some distinct advantages for me. I had six years of schooling at the Lutheran Day School in Wichita. One of the favorite Bible verses I had to memorize at school was (and, still is) Hebrews 3:4: "For every house is built by some man, but he that built all things is God."
In my mind, God has always been the Master Builder. (Ironically, in later life, I would marry a woman who would choose architecture as her career!)
In high school, I had the privilege attending what I recall as being the largest high school in Kansas — Wichita High School East. This offered me a chance to take a wide variety of science classes, and I enrolled in every science course offered.
It was the geology class that really peaked my interest and challenged my religious training. What I read in the science textbook didn't seem to jive much with what I had learned about Creation at the Lutheran School!
In 1951, Concordia Publishing House released a new book by Alfred M. Rehwinkel entitled The Flood in the Light of the Bible, Geology, and Archaeology. Then, in 1955, another book came out by Dr. John W. Klotz entitled Genes, Genesis, and Evolution.
I read both books with great interest. However, I could see, especially concerning geology, that much more was yet to be understood.
It was also in high school that something happened that would affect my life for most of the next 20 years. I began to listen to a TV program once a week by a man who claimed to know a lot about the Bible. He quoted a lot of Bible verses and his forcefulness attracted my attention. The man was Herbert W. Armstrong.
In the fall of 1957 I was admitted into Armstrong's small liberal arts college in Pasadena, California. Due to financial constraints, I did not graduate until five years later in the spring of 1962. By then I had full-time employment at the college. Part of my work consisted of researching questions regarding science and the Bible.
One of Armstrong's teachings was the "Gap Theory" ¨C the idea that large amounts of time existed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. At the time, I had no objection to the belief and defended it.
Later in the mid-1970s and beyond, I came to see that many of Armstrong's teachings were in error, including the Gap Theory. However, after leaving California and association with Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God (first known as the Radio Church of God), my desire to know how to correlate geology and the Bible did not end.
While living in California, I married my wonderful wife, Marjorie (nee) Eaton. Our two precious daughters, Renee and Rochelle were born there.
In the late 1970s I enrolled at Wichita State University in Kansas and studied for a Master's Degree in Science with a geology major. I was a Graduate Teacher's Assistant in the Geology Department. However, when the degree came in 1982, the price of oil had hit bottom. Thousands of large and small oil companies were laying off workers who had been with them for many years. I had the degree, but little opportunity to use it except for a short stint on the adjunct faculty of Friends University in Wichita in the Science Department.
However, the knowledge gained by the education at WSU was invaluable. It helped me to more fully comprehend the scope of what I was reading and seeing in the field. I continued to ponder and research the various issues regarding Creation and geology.
Slowly in the mid-1980s, a hypothesis formed in my mind. This would later become known as the CCC model of geology. CCC stands for Creation, Curse, Catastrophe.
After graduation from WSU, I worked for awhile at Boeing Aircraft Company in Wichita. Obviously, this wasn't what I had in mind, but it provided a paycheck!
I felt the need to do more with my life. I felt a calling from God into the ministry (this came after various others had suggested this would be a good path to take). In August of 1988, after my mother's death earlier that same year, my wife, youngest daughter and I moved to St. Louis where I entered Concordia Seminary to study to become an ordained pastor.
While at Concordia Seminary, I took Dr. Klotz's class on Studies in Creation (he had published a book by the same title a short time earlier). It was due to his class that we became much better acquainted.
One day I received a call from another Lutheran who, like Dr. Klotz, was on the Board of Directors of Creation Research Society. Dr. Wilbert H Rusch, Sr. asked if I would be interested in coming to the annual CRS Board meeting at Ann Arbor, Michigan. I accepted and soon found myself being voted onto the Board. I was a Board member and CRS Treasurer from 1992 to 2003.
I graduated from Concordia Seminary in the spring of 1993. I served as pastor of two Lutheran Churches, first in Indiana and then in Texas until my retirement in May of 2005. While pastor, I continued researching and writing for CRS. The various papers I had published in the CRS Quarterly during this time are posted on this website.
Arthur W. Pink said: "The beginning of faith is: 'Faith in the beginning.'" I am convinced that the mysteries of science are best understood when we take seriously what God says in His Word and use them as a framework for the data of science.
To this end, I have formulated the CCC model of geology. Like all models, it isn't perfect. It will change as new information makes that change necessary. But, I believe it offers a better framework to construct the history of the Earth than other young Earth models.
It's been a long time since high school and that initial high school course in geology! Much progress has been made. Much still remains. But, the challenge is exciting. I believe the same challenge can occupy the lives and thoughts of many others for years to come!